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  1. The Coffee Connection

    For many, the thought of an oud-burning session with friends would be incomplete without the beverage that goes back as long as aloeswood use itselfócoffee. Let us look now at the use of coffee in the tradition of mystics, and itís connection with aloeswood use.

    Coffee use can be traced at least to as early as the 9th century, when it appeared in the highlands of Ethiopia. According to legend, Ethiopian shepherds were the first to observe the influence of the caffeine in coffee beans ...
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  2. Elf's Compendium of Notes 5- Seville Lavender

    I have a collection of lavender essential oils and absolutes, all of them subtly different from each other, yet recognizably lavender. However, one is a real weirdo. Itís called Seville Lavender, or Lavandula luisieri, and itís grown in Spain and Portugal. Its blooms are collected in the spring. The plant is left intact, so this is a sustainable harvest practice.

    The absolute is viscous and a dark caramel color. It has a very rasin-like odor, with a strong hint of Fig Newton! There ...
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  3. Some Scent Spaces

    Since my last blog Iíve discovered that two kinds of scent spaces have actually been constructed. I said Iíd really like a smell equivalent of color space, based on objective measurements, converted into coordinates, so that similar smells would be close together and dissimilar smells would be well separated in this odor space. It turns out that Dr. Luca Turin actually prototyped such an odor space in a paper thatís on the web here.

    One difference is that he used calculated inelastic ...
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  4. Elf's Compendium of Notes 4- Massoia Bark

    My tiny bottle of essential oil of Crytptocarya massoia bark from Indonesia has not gotten much use yet, and this hard-to-find, and very unusual note, takes getting used to. But itís a lot of fun getting used to it. Warm, buttery, and intense, massoia dominates a composition in the same way vetiver does. Even in a very weak dilution, once you know the smell, you can say, ďThatís massoia in there!Ē This is because C. massoia essential oil is full of lactones, which are only found in a handful of ...
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  5. Some Vocabularies of Smell

    Chapter 1 of Avery Gilbertís What the Nose Knows provides a brief history of smell classification systems. Careful examination, especially by psychologists, has found problems with all of them. But still we all try to describe what we smell. Without words, fragrance reviews would be much simpler. I can imagine 1 to 5 smiley faces for how much I like a fragrance or a similar range for frowns. It would certainly save room. But Iím trying to train myself to recognize and appreciate more smells. ...
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